Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Harper aiming for larger role

Playing time is relative. Just ask Michael Harper.

The 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Australia played a total of 39 minutes during his recently completed freshman season with the Hawai’i basketball team. But 11 of those minutes came during a key stretch of the season finale against Air Force, and that has given Harper a positive outlook for next season.

“It’s good that it came at the end of the year, in the last game of the season,” he said. “It boosts my confidence going into next year, of course. It let me know that I have what it takes to perform at the top D-1 basketball level.”


Harper’s primary role with the Warriors for the 2012-13 season was as a member of the scout team in practices, and he is hoping for that role to expand next season.

“If coach finds a spot to play me on the court, then obviously I’ll be ready to step up,” Harper said. “We’re all a team here and we’re all looking to contribute as much as possible. If it’s more practice, then it’s more practice. If it’s more in the game, then I’ll be ready to play when ever.”

This past season was Harper’s true freshman season, which means this will also be his inaugural off-season as a collegiate athlete. He said he has already started lifting weights and putting up extra shots, and will also play in a summer league in Australia when he returns home after this current semester.

“I’m looking to get as better as I can,” he said. “I’m going to work on my shot, work on my ball-handling. I’m just ready for this off-season.”

He may also take some time to work on his beard. Harper has been growing out his facial hair since the end of the season, and said he’s willing to listen to fan suggestions of whether he should shave it or not.


  1. Aussie Mum: My dear Aussie Mum, your Michael Harper, “the thunder from down under” has his own video update. Great young man. Team player. The guys on the team, the gal fans young and old love him. Great personality on that Australian Kid. Aussie Mum you brought up a young aussie good and proper!

    Seriously, If Michael puts in the work , gets stronger, physically, work on strength and quickness of the USA BB game, works on his confidence, like in AFA game which he did great when UH was battling to get the win, Michael will play a big role, as a shooting guard and Small Forward. Your son always has a smile on his face. He has a great looking three point shot, and has the same type of warrior hustle mentality as does Christian Standhardinger. Can’t wait for Michael’s return to paradise!

    He should be Mr Australia! Great young student athlete. Since Michael introduced himself at Gib Arnold’s Barbie, I said , that young guy , loves the hoops , and he is a hard worker. Had a pretty good summer league last year. When he comes home for summer to Australia, give him a lot of Tim Tams and Vegimite sandwiches to eat, with a bit o’ tea.

    I like Mike. Maybe I will be his unofficial agent and sponsor, when Michael graduates and goes on to his chosen profession.

    Mahalo, and lots of love to the best Aussie Mum from down under. And to the entire Harper Ohana!
    Aloha! From Michael’s fans, and Uhfanzonly1.


  2. What a likable guy … must be that tim-tam diet.

    From his play in the summer league Michael appeared to have perhaps the sweetest shooting stroke on the team. It was nice to see him contribute in the game against Air Force; hopefully it carries over to the offseason and into 2013-14.

    Hey, Michael, shave the beard, but keep the mustache. If you’re still undecided, just ask Aussie Mum!

  3. UHF1 – thank you for your comments. I am sure that Michael will be eager to get back to paradise too! He will work very hard during the break – as he always does – but he will also get some of his mother’s lovely roast lamb with lots of vegetables. His favourite meal is crumbed lamb cutlets with mash potato, peas and beans. He always mashes the potatoes and he does a better job than me! lol

    PS I don’t like the longer beard – but then again my opinion never counts with these things – best left to those gorgeous girls that go to UH.

  4. Although Harper is not a superstar or starter at this time. He’s the kind of player that a Basketball program can really build around.

    Perfect example is Mike Hart for Gonzaga. Hart was a walk-on that made the roster in open tryouts. He doesn’t score much, but he’s an unbelievable hustle player and became an outstanding defensive player. It took Hart a few years to earn his scholarship and had to work extremely hard to earn playing time, but in Hart’s senior year, he was a starter for a bunch of games this year. Coach Mark Few called Hart as an indispensable player during this year.

    I see that kind of potential in Harper. The during the last game, Harper was called upon as everybody in front of him either was playing poorly or wasn’t focused. Harper stepped up and helped fuel the rally that got UH the halftime lead vs AF. That’s the kind of effort that a program needs. I think Harper probably earned a promotion in the rotation. He can shoot, so his services will definitely be needed next season as UH doesn’t have many good shooters outside of Jawato and Oz’s departure.

    Oz left for green pastures (literally and figuratively), and I think Oz is making the right move as he again would be on the bench as Gib will probably rely on more athletic players (Spearman, Thomas & Valdes) to cover Big West guard-heavy lineups.

    Even with the loss of Oz and Clair, UH has a core of players that’s really strong. Fotu, Harper, Dressler, Valdes, Spearman and Shamburger all arrived last year and will be in their 2nd year all together. Jawato, Standhardinger, Jefferson will be in their 3rd year at UH.

    The last of the bad old boys is gone… Vander at least made it to his Sr year, but he and Miles, Joston, and Wiseman, are all gone. That was Gib’s first recruiting class which was a complete mish-mash class because of the abbreviated recruiting period and the gaping holes Bob Nash left the program with. Gib was forced to take high risk players because of the roster situation he inherited.

    As we enter the 4th year under Gib. The quality of his recruits are steadily getting better as evidenced by landing Standhardinger & Fotu, They have been great and look like Fotu will be a star. Spearman, Jawato, have been solid. Valdes, Thomas, Webster-Chan, look like they can all jump out of the gym. Exciting times are not far away for UHMBB. We got a glimpse of future greatness as Fotu officially put his stamp as the #1 option as he went wild once Vander left the building (literally).

  5. Correction: Webster-Chan is not a high-flyer… Just saw his HS tapes. That kid can ball. Great passer and quick. Appears to be a good shooter. Only question mark might be between the ears.

    The reason why he left Mizzou is because of playing time. HW-C was the early starter then as a transfer player became eligible, he lost his starting job (likely for the next two seasons). His timing at UH will be good because when he’s eligible in 2014-15, Standhardinger, Spearman, Jefferson will be done with eligibility.

    With the current roster, the 2014-15 lineup would sort of look like (obviously likely to change): Dressler/Jovanovic, Fotu, Thomas, Valdes/NW-C, Shamburger.

    NW-C would probably start at the 2 guard if Valdes doesn’t pan out. That’s the position where his skill set appears to be at.

  6. FORMER:
    From KSmooth on the other board. NWC seems to be a high flyer to me. I thought at first that he was not a high flyer since some of his points were lay-ups. Nice to have someone his size with good court vision.

  7. Recommend shaving the beard and mustache. Taking a page from other successful athletes, especially the bigs many mentioned that they played soccer as young ‘ums. The tale told is to develop quick feet so you are able to explode into space both offensively and defensively. Another good example is MMA fighters, Chad Owens recently demonstrated how effective you can be when you have the skill set, speed, quickness and attitude. Some say, these 4 factors are the “eye of the tiger” of Rocky fame. Look forward to seeing you play next year.

  8. lose the beard Michael ,look more handsome for the ladies without it. Less wind resistance when you run up and down the court. Have fun this summer and continue to work hard.

  9. It’s really funny when a real Aussie eats at an Outback Steakhouse… 1. The real Aussie gets mad at the staff’s fake accent should they try to speak. 2. Sometimes the waiter thinks the real Aussie’s accent is fake. So funny.

  10. Harper… don’t listen to tako or jjay…

    FULL MUTTEN CHOPS!!! — Ambrose Burnside style

    or FU MANCHU — Rod Beck (when he played for the Chicago Cubs), plus the mullet to round out the look.


  11. correction… Fu Manchu in the style of Al Hrabosky… that one is great

  12. Michael DO NOT LISTEN TO UHF Well at least not for your grooming!!!!

  13. sorry Michael but with sham, spear and nevels not to mention the other garrett and jawato I don’t expect u to getting anymore minutes than this past season

  14. Love this video! Love Michael’s smile-beard and all!

    I think it is great when Dayton asks regular bball questions then throws in a random question about facial hair. Michael’s smile just lights up the screen. It is great to capture those candid moments on film.

    Shout out to Aussie Mum! So happy for you.
    Val Schmidt

  15. I am also looking forward to more of his victory dances after he makes the 3!

  16. HF09,

    You’re such a buzz kill.

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